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Rachel Lang Bounces Back From First Round Loss to Win Garden State Pool Tour Ladies Event

Ginny Lewis, Rachel Lang and Jay Pass

Rachel Lang bounced back from an opening round loss and never looked back as she won the Garden State Pool Tour’s ladies event at Shooters Family Billiards on July 23rd. 

Lang lost her first match of the day to Kris Kemp 5-3. Some players might have gotten discouraged with an opening round loss, but not Lang. “After losing my first match I was determined to play better and give it everything I had.” she said. Lang had wins over Renee Harris, Michelle Brotons and Heather Lewis before her rematch with Kemp on the one loss side. Lang took quick control of this match and ran off to a 6-2 win. 

Back on the winner’s side, Jay Pass scored a hill-hill win over Ginny Lewis for the hot-seat. Lewis then dropped the semi-final match to Lang in another hill-hill battle. 

The final match was an even 8-8, and Lang won that match 8-4 for first place.

The Garden State Pool Tour will be at Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, New Jersey for their next event on August 6th – 7th. 

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Herndon hangs on to win NAPT West Coast Challenge

Melissa Herndon, Eleanor Collado, Khanh Ngo and Veronique Menard

It’s the kind of match that spectator fans love to see. A player sends an opponent to the loss side in an early round and that opponent treks all the way back through the loss side to face that opponent in the finals. And then, it’s a double elimination final and the loss side opponent wins the first set, double hill. They battle a second time to double hill and the hot seat occupant finally wins it. So went the North American Pool Tour’s (NAPT) Division I West Coast Challenge, a 10-ball tournament, held on the long weekend of June 20-23 at Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA. It was Melissa Herndon who sent Veronique Menard to the loss side in the event. Menard won seven on the loss side and defeated Herndon double hill in the opening set of the double elimination final. Herndon returned the favor, defeating Menard in the second set, double hill to claim the title. The event drew 33 entrants to Hard Time Billiards.
Herndon and Menard clashed first in the second round of play. Herndon had opened with a 7-1 victory over Samantha Hill, while Menard was busy downing Sher Ahola 7-3. Herndon took the first of their three matches 7- 4 and moved on past Bernie Store (7-3) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Rachel Lang. Eleanor Callado, in the meantime, who’d almost been sent to the loss side in the opening round, survived that double hill match against Laura Bendikas and advanced to defeat Amani Ali 7-1, and shut out Kelly Nickl to arrive at the other winners’ side semifinal against Khanh Ngo.
On the loss side, it was Lang who ran into Menard, four matches into her loss side streak, which had most recently eliminated Stephanie Hefner 7-3 and Nickl 7-5. Ngo picked up Bernie Store, who, following her defeat at the hands of Herndon, had survived two straight double hill fights against Janna Sue Nelson and Sher Ahola. 
Bernie Store’s third straight double hill match was not the proverbial ‘charm’ she’d hoped it would be. Ngo hung on to win the match and advance to the quarterfinals, where she was met by Menard, who’d chalked up loss-side win #5 against Lang 7-1. Menard then put an end to Ngo’s weekend with a 7-3 win in the quarterfinals and followed up with a 7-5 win over Callado in the semifinals. 
It was clear from the opening set of the final that neither of these women was going to go quietly. Menard had the usual momentum boost from seven matches on the loss side and Herndon knew she only had to win one more set to go home with the top prize. Herndon arguably had more at stake than Menard did. They’d both been around competing since the turn of the century, but in recent years, Herndon had been taking time off for a job and a husband routine. For her, standing on the brink of her first major title in years, there was an “I’m back” feel to the whole process, which would have felt good no matter how the finals turned out, but winning it was clearly on her mind and in her game.
Menard took an early, short lead in the opening set, but Herndon caught up to tie things at 4-4. The ninth rack turned into a back-and-forth safety battle as they both worked at dropping the 5-ball. Menard broke through, but jumped up, shooting at the 8-ball and turned the table over to Herndon. Herndon dropped it, but scratched shooting at the 9-ball, giving Menard a ball-in-hand shot at the 10-ball and immediately thereafter, the lead.
Herndon took the 10th rack to tie things at 5-5. Menard took game 11 to reach the hill first. With a connect-the-dots finish to rack #12, Menard missed the 9-ball, allowing Herndon to finish and force a deciding rack. Menard broke and ran rack #13, claiming the first set and forcing a second.
Tension mounts in the second set of a true double elimination final like an old-fashioned Jack in the Box. Especially when it goes back and forth as this one did. The crank keeps turning, ratcheting up the tension, as you brace for that damn clown to jump out at you.
Two things were evident right from the start of the second set. No one was going to jump out to any kind of substantial lead. They were both tight and cautious, one game at a time. And they were getting a bit tired. Making mistakes; missing shots, rattling them in holes, putting each other in tough situations and alternately shooting right out of them.
They established a lead/tie pattern right from the start, with Menard taking the first rack, Herndon, the second. Back and forth to a 2-2 tie, until Herndon threatened to go out in front for the first time as she aimed at the 10-ball. She missed it, tapping the 10-ball to concede the rack and the pattern resumed, all the way to a 4-4 tie.
Herndon broke the pattern, and took her first lead, 5-4, in game #9, and with nothing byt the 9 and 10-ball to go in rack #10, she threatened to go up by two. She left herself in an awkward position shooting at the 9-ball and missed it, allowing Menard to knot things at 5-5.
Herndon misjudged a position shot in game #11 that left a 5-ball hanging in the pocket and allowed Menard to recapture the lead and reach the hill first at 6-5. 
At this point, Menard was probably the only person in the room, or the extended chat world that didn’t want Herndon to tie things up at 6-6 to force a deciding game. Herndon being the strongest proponent for forcing a game #13, tried to accomplish it a little early, going for a 5-10 combo, which she rushed and missed. Menard dropped the 5-ball and with five balls down and five to go, things looked grim for Herndon.
Menard made it to a shot at the 8-ball, which she attempted to put into a side pocket. But she over-anxiously hit it way too hard and when it caromed off the rail next to the side pocket, it looked as though it had enough speed on it to reach a table in New York City. Herndon stepped to the table and promptly tied the match at 6-6.
Herndon broke the final rack, sinking the 8-ball and giving herself a decent look at the 1-ball. But like Menard, she got a little over-anxious and bounced the 1-ball off the side rail. Subsequent ball action dropped two other balls. Since the ball at which Herndon was shooting didn’t drop, 10-ball rules dictated that Menard had the option of taking over or allowing Herndon to keep shooting. Menard chose to shoot, ran to the 5-ball and rattled it in and out of the side pocket. 
Herndon played safe and Menard safed her right back, but not quite good enough. Herndon made a terrific, long-table, oblique angle shot on that 5-ball that drifted it within less than an inch or two of two other balls on its way into the corner pocket. Herndon dropped the last three balls and claimed the NAPT’s West Coast Challenge title.
NAPT President Adrianne Beach thanked the ownership and staff at Hard Time Billiards, as well as Cue Sports Live and the players who made it out to play. The next Division I NAPT event, scheduled for August 15-18 will be the 4th Annual NAPT Summer Classic, to be hosted by Shooter’s Sports Bar and Billiards in Grayslake, IL.

Pinegar wins 2019 SBE Pro Am Bar Box Championship

Jonathan Pinegar (Photo courtesy Super Billiards Expo)

Davis tops largest SBE field of 1,024 to win Amateur Open
In its multi-discipline, varied-skill format that, with some overlap among 11 events, drew over 3,000 pool players to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, PA over the weekend of March 28-31, the Super Billiard Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships has always existed as something of a challenge. In 2018, they used the challenge in promoting the event, asking potential participants a simple question – How good do you really think you are?
Open to all levels of competitors, without restriction, its field is capped at 32 players, who play a ‘best of three set’ format with races to 6 in each set (all other Amateur events utilized the same format, although with races to 5 in each set). While encouraging and expecting a wide variety of players from the amateur to the pro, this year’s ProAm Bar Box Championships featured a field that was tipped somewhat toward the amateur end of things. Not completely, because it was won by 20-year veteran Jonathan Pinegar, who’s been winning and cashing in amateur and semi-pro events for nearly 20 years. Known throughout most of his career as “Hennessee from Tennessee,” Pinegar has, in recent years, been signing on to events with his given name. At this year’s SBE, he signed in as John Pinegar. This year’s runner-up was Demetrius Jelatis.
The posted brackets on the SBE Web site for all of the amateur events (including the ProAm Bar Box) do not indicate the scores of the individual sets, which masks the give and take of game-by-game scoring. Instead, each player is seen to have won their individual matches by only one of two possible outcomes; 2-0 or 2-1. There is no way of knowing, therefore, a given player’s game-winning percentage, only his or her set-winning percentage.
Pinegar won 10 of 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with a 2-1 win over Alex Olinger, went 2-0 against Kevin West and allowed Scott Haas a single set in the third round, which brought him to a semifinal matchup against Justin Espinosa. Jelatis, in the meantime, won eight of the 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with two straight 2-0 set victories over Shane Clayton and Alan Rolan, before giving up a set to Ryan McCreesh. This set him (Jelatis) up against Jorge Rodriguez in the other semifinal. Rodriguez is another one of those competitors who’s been competing at the semi-pro and pro-level for years.
Pinegar got into the finals with a 2-0 set victory over Espinosa. Jelatis joined him after a 2-1 set victory over Rodriguez. Pinegar completed his undefeated (in sets) run with a 2-0 victory over Jelatis.
Davis goes undefeated in his individual bracket, advances to win Amateur Open
In the largest field of the SBE, the Amateur Open, 1,024 entrants initially split up into 16 brackets of 64 players each. Each of those brackets delivered a single player to a Final 16 bracket. Phil Davis didn’t lose a single set (best of three sets in races to 5) in his initial bracket, going 2-0 against Chris Garrett, Matt Clatterbuck, Mark Alicea, Paul Swinson, Richard Anderson and in his bracket’s finals, Jason Balas. He gave up his first set in the opening round of the single-elimination final 16 bracket, going 2-1 against Joe Wright. He went back to his 2-0 pattern against Mark Nanashee in the second round, which moved him into the semifinals against Julio Burgos.
Raed Shabib, in the meantime, gave up his first set, in the opening round of his 64-player bracket, to Christopher Balderson. He didn’t give up another one until his bracket finals, having gone 2-0 against Abel Rosario, John Hoge, Bill Mason and Randy Tate. He took the bracket final 2-1 over James Adams. He opened the Final 16 portion of his run with a 2-1 victory over George Crawford and then downed Brett Stottlemeyer 2-0, to arrive at a semifinal against Chris Bruner.
Davis and Shabib advanced to the finals with identical 2-1 set victories over Burgos and Bruner, respectively. Davis completed his undefeated run with a 2-1 victory over Shabib in the finals.
Amateur highlights
The next highest attended Amateur tournament was the Open Seniors event (for 50+), which drew 384 entrants. Originally split into eight preliminary brackets, yielding a single winner, the event was won by Bobby Connor. He advanced through the Final 8 field with set wins over Oscar Bonilla and Dennis Spears, both 2-1. He was met in the finals by Efrain Morales, who’d defeated Joe Armeni 2-1 and Chuck Ross 2-0. Connor didn’t give up a set in claiming the Open Seniors title.
Next up, with 192 entrants, was the Super Seniors (65+), who started in four initial brackets, yielding a very short final field of four. Ed Matushoneck downed Tom Acciavatti 2-1 to claim his spot in the finals, and was joined by Ronny Park, who’d defeated Nelson Rivera 2-1. Matushoneck claimed the Super Seniors title with a 2-0 win over Park.
The Amateur Ladies drew 188, just four less than the Super Seniors. Combined, those two events would have yielded an enormously entertaining field with just four less than the Open Seniors event. As it was, the 188 ladies, like the Super Seniors, started with four initial 64-player brackets (with a number of opening round byes) and ended with a final field of 4. Rachel Lang and Michelle Jiang advanced to the finals without giving up a set to either Marie-France Blanchette and Stacey Tonkin. Lang downed Jiang in the finals two sets to one.
In the 12 and under Juniors event, which drew 56 entrants, Parker Jakubczak downed 2018 11 & under Junior National Champion Kyle Yi in the finals 2-1. In the 17 & under category, which drew 76 entrants, two-time 14 & under National Junior Champion Nathan Childress defeated Ivo Linkin in two straight sets.

Corr recaptures SBE Diamond Women’s Open 9-Ball Pro Championship title

Karen Corr – Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio

Ireland’s Karen Corr went undefeated through a field of 56 women who competed in the $8,350-added Diamond Women’s Open 9-Ball Pro Championships, held as part of the Super Billiards Expo on the long weekend of April 12-15, and sanctioned by the North American Pool Tour. It was her third SBE Women’s Pro Championship title, which she won, as well, in 2016, and 2014. It was her first win in 2018.
In the field that was vying for $26K in prize money and included anyone’s list of the top women in the sport, the top 16 were seeded at the beginning of the initial, double elimination bracket. When that bracket came down to the final eight on each side, those 16 women entered a single elimination phase that was not seeded. Corr, after defeating Sonya Chbeeb, Rachel Lang and Veronique Menard to secure her spot on the winners’ side Final Eight bracket, got by Janet Atwell 11-8, and Vivian Villareal 11-9 to face Allison Fisher in the semifinals of that winners’ side Final Eight.
Brittany Bryant, in the meantime, who’d lost an opening round match to Kim Whitman, won four on the loss side, against Krista Walsh, Ada Lio, Stephanie Goens, and Dawn Hopkins to claim a spot on the losers’ side Final Eight. In the single elimination phase, Bryant downed Bernie Store 11-7, and April Larson 11-9 to face Jia Li in the semifinals of the losers’ side Final Eight.
Long-time adversaries at the table (and friends, off the table), Corr and Fisher battled in what arguably should have been the event final (a seeded single elimination phase might have kept them apart until the finals). Corr won it, 11-8, and advanced to the finals. Byrant joined her, after downing Li 11-9. Corr took the final 11-6 to chalk up her third SBE title.

Van Boening Takes 8-Ball & All Around at 24th Annual U.S. Bar Table Championship

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening double-dipped James Aranas of the Philippines to win the 8-Ball Division of the U.S. Bar Table Championship Saturday, locking up the All-Around title for the third time.
Van Boening won the 9-Ball Division and took second in the 10-Ball Division earlier this week. He also won the All-Around title in 2008 and 2010.
Van Boening came into the finals from the one-loss side of the bracket. He started the tournament with wins over: Ernesto Dominguez, 5-1; Dave Strachan, 5-0; Dennis Orcollo, 5-3; Max Eberle, 5-4; before losing to Jesse Engle, 4-5. On the B-Side of the bracket, he bested; Mitch Ellerman, 5-1; Skyler Woodward, 5-3; and Jesse Engel, 5-2 to make it to the finals. Van Boening met Aranas in the finals and beat him 5-1 in the first set, to force a second set in the true double-elimination tournament.
Aranas’ went into the finals undefeated, beating: Michael Tonsowny, 5-0; Andrew Wroblewski, 5-3; Marshall Hill, 5-2; Mitch Ellerman, 5-2; Skyler Woodward, 5-0; and Jesse Engel, 5-3. But he was unable to beat Van Boening in the finals.
1. Shane Van Boening           $4,000
2. James Aranas                      $2,300
3. Jesse Engel                           $1,500
4. Sky Woodward                                     $1,000
5. Mitch Ellerman                   $700
6. Max Eberle                           $700
7. Dennis Orcollo                     $450
8. Jason Klatt                            $450
9. Oscar Dominguez              $300
10. Shaun Wilkie                     $300
11. Demetrius Jelatis             $300
12. Jeremy Edwards              $300
13. Amar Kang                         $200
14. George Walters                $200
15. Matt Hill                              $200
16. Josh Smith                          $200
17. Vilmos Foldes                   $150
18. Mark Tademy                                    $150
19. Vinnie Calabrese              $150
20. Zhou Zhau                          $150
21. Sean Lewis                         $150
22. Marshall Hill                      $150
23. Ace Brown                          $150
24. James Blackburn              $150
[photo id=48388|align=right]In the Women’s Division, Arizona’s Bernie Store was undefeated to win the title of 2017 US Bar Table Women’s 8-Ball Champion.
Store’s path to the finals included wins over: Alicia Huff, 4-2; Jessica Frideres, 4-3; Rachel Lang, 4-3; and Tian Tian, 4-3.
Jessica Frideres, who won the 9-Ball Division, came through the one loss side to meet Store in the finals. Frideres won her first match of the tournament against Amanda Stevens, 4-0, before Store sent her to the losers bracket, 4-3. On the B-side, Frideres bested: Molly Oliver, 4-0; Karen Poitra, 4-2; Jennifer Shumaker, 4-1; Rachel Lang, 4-0; and Tian Tian, 4-2. But Frideres wouldn’t be able to overcome Store in the finals, where she lost 4-1.
Payouts: 1. Bernie Store, $850; Jessica Frideres, $500; Tian Tian, $300; and Rachel Lang, $200.
Frideres’ second place finish earned her enough to second the Women’s All-Around title and $500 bonus.
The 24th US Bar Table Championships concluded Saturday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

Van Boening Earns Fifth US Bar Table 9-Ball Champion title

Jessica Frideres and Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening of South Dakota added a fifth US Bar Table 9-Ball Championship to his resume Thursday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, beating James Aranas of the Philippines in the finals, 9-2.
Van Boening went into the finals undefeated, posting wins over: Abrin Schaad, 9-6; Ernesto Dominguez, 9-3; Oscar Dominguez, 9-7; Billy Stephan, 9-1 and Mitch Ellerman, 9-4. Van Boening beat Aranas to earn the hot seat, 9-7.
Aranas’ path to the finals included beating: Donald Weatherby II, 9-3; Jeremy Edwards, 9-7; Jason Klatt, 9-6; Sky Woodward, 9-8; and Amar Kang, 9-7. After losing the hot seat match, Aranas beat Jesse Engle, 9-2, to earn a place in the finals.
Van Boening kept control in the final match from the start, jumping out to a 4-2 lead. In the seventh rack, the players traded safeties until a kick by Van Boening left the one ball open for Aranas, who then uncharacteristically missed a six ball to let Van Boening back to the table. They traded safeties again until Aranas made a good hit on the seven ball and then scratched, giving Van Boening the game. Van Boening then broke and ran, to go up 6-2. Aranas scratched again in the next rack, giving up another game. Van Boening broke and ran again, then ran out the final rack after Aranas broke dry.
Van Boening, player representative for the USA Pool League, previously won the 9-Ball Division at the US Bar Table Championships in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2010. On Tuesday, Van Boening earned second place in the 10-Ball Division.
1. Shane Van Boening           $3,500
2. James Aranas                      $2,100
3. Jesse Engel                           $1,400
4. Amar Kang                           $900
5. Mitch Ellerman                   $600
6. Shaun Wilkie                       $600
7. Josh Smith                            $400
8. Sky Woodward                                     $400
9. Ernesto Dominguez           $225
10. Billy Stephan                     $225
11. Demetrius Jelatis             $225
12. Abrin Schaad                     $225
13. Mark Wissman                $150
14. Vinnie Calabrese              $150
15. Oscar Dominguez            $150
16. Dave Strachan                  $150
In the Women’s Division, Jessica Frideres added the title of USBTC 9-Ball Division Champion to her resume, to complete a trifecta of USBTC titles. Frideres, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, won the USBTC 8-Ball Division in 2013, and the USBTC 10-Ball Division in 2016. Frideres’ went into the finals undefeated, having bested Molly Oliver, 7-3 and Rachel Lang, 7-5, before beating Heather Cortez for the hot seat.
Cortez’s path to the finals included wins over: Trinh Lu, 7-4; Amanda Stevens, 7-1; and Rhonda Moses, 7-1, before Frideres sent her to the B-side of the bracket. Cortez then beat Trinh Lu, 7-4, to earn her place in the finals.
But Cortez’s efforts in the finals weren’t enough to beat Frideres, who beat Cortez 7-3 to earn the title.
Payouts: 1. Jessica Frideres, $825; 2. Heather Cortez, $425; 3. Trinh Lu, $250
The 24th US Bar Table Championships kicked off Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The 8-Ball began Thursday and continues through Saturday, Dec. 16.
For more information, contact Mary Coffman, CSI Marketing Manager, at 702-719-7665 or by email at 

Lang goes undefeated to join growing ranks of female winners on the Tri-State Tour

Rachel Lang

Given the number of years that the Tri-State Tour has existed, the number of female competitors to have won a stop on the tour is relatively small, and includes the names of Kim Meyer-Gabia, Rhio Anne Flores, Yomaylin Feliz, Borana Andoni, and Sandie Paterino (to name just a few). Rachel Lang joined their ranks on Saturday, March 4, with an undefeated run through a field of 20 entrants, on-hand for a $1,000-added event, hosted by Shooter's Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 
Lang was one of two females among the event's final 12 competitors (Allison LaFleur was the other). Lang squared off against Mike Strassberg in one winners' side semifinal, as Brian Jeziorski met up with Brian Cap in the other. Lang got into the hot seat match with a 6-2 win over Strassberg. Jeziorski joined her for the first of two, following his 7-5 win over Cap. Lang claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Jeziorski and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Strassberg picked up Erick Carrasco, who'd defeated LaFleur 7-6, and Frank Sieczka 6-4 to reach him. Cap drew "The Warrior" (Carl Yusuf Khan), who'd gotten by Jan Mierzwa and Kevin Scalzitti, both double hill. It was Khan and Carrasco who advanced to the quarterfinals; Khan 7-5 over Cap, and Carrasco 7-6 over Strassberg.
Khan chalked up his third double hill win over his last four matches with a win over Carrasco in those quarterfinals. He then had his loss-side run ended by Jeziorski 7-4 in the semifinals. Lang completed her undefeated run with an 8-6 second victory over Jeziorski in the finals to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter's Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, March 12, will be a $1,000-added, 'double points' event, hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ. 

Candy Whalen goes undefeated to take New England 9-Ball Series stop in New Hampshire

Dennis Daniels, Candy Whalen and Randy Gilbert

One day after Rachel Lang went undefeated to claim a Tri-State Tour title in New Jersey (Sat., March 4), Candy Whalen chalked one up in New Hampshire with the New England 9-Ball Series. In the end, Whalen's victory (playing as a C-) came at the expense of (B player) Dennis Daniels, who had two shots at her in the hot seat match and finals, and fell short by the same score, both times. The $500-added Joe Brown Memorial event, drew 48 entrants to Buster's Billiards in Somersworth, NH.
In a straight-up race to 3 against fellow C- player, Randy Gilbert, Whalen survived a double hill fight in a winners' side semifinal to get into the hot seat match. She was met by Daniels, who'd defeated Dave Marcus, also double hill, in the other winners' side semifinal. With Daniels racing to 8, Whalen claimed the hot seat 4-6 and waited for him to get back from the event semifinals.
On the loss side, Gilbert picked up Marc Murphy (C-), who'd gotten by Roger Bowley 4-2 and Dorothy Gauvin 5-2, which, with Gauvin racing to 3, was double hill. Marcus drew fellow C+ player Josh Edmonds, who'd shut out Robert Whalen (playing as a B-), and given up only a single rack to another B-, Martin Flagg.
Gilbert downed Murphy 3-1, and was met in the quarterfinals by Edmonds, who, in a straight-up race to 4, had eliminated Marcus 4-1. With Edmonds racing to 5 in those quarterfinals, it was Gilbert who advanced to the semifinals with a 3-3 win. 
Daniels ended Gilbert's run with a decisive 7-1 victory in the semifinals and got a second chance against Whalen. Whalen, though, repeated her hot seat performance against Gilbert, claiming the event title with a second 4-6 win.
Tour director Marc Dionne, who was inducted into the New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Rhode Island on the Friday before this event, thanked the ownership and staff at Buster's Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AzBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta-13 Racks, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America.  The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for the weekend of March 25-26, will be the $2,000-added Players Championship, hosted by Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.

Connecticut Junior State 9-Ball Champions Crowned

Franky Richards and Alex Gurevich

The 2015 Connecticut Junior State 9-Ball Championships concluded with great success. Everyone had a wonderful time.


22 junior players competed for State titles, trophies, some scholarship money and an opportunity to compete in the BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championships this August. In the 14 and under division Lukas Fracassa-Verner played a very close match with Michelle Jiang to win the Connecticut State title. Franky Richard took the title in the 15-18 year old division playing the final round against Alex Gurevich. Everyone played with great determination, lots of heart and terrific sportsmanship.


18 & Under Division

1st Place

Franky Richards, age 18

Lunenburg, MA

Trophy, Scholarship Award

2nd Place

Alex Gurevich, age 15

Millburg, MA


3rd Place

Jason Denison, 15

Stoniston, CT

Trophy, Paid Entry to 2015 BEF Jr Nationals

4th Place

Rachel Lang, age 18

Catskill, NY


5th Place

Emily Herpel, age 15

Freehold, NY


6th Place

Andy Poutry, age 15

Ayer, MA

Paid Entry to 2015 BEF Jr Nationals

7th Place

Rebecca Hilton, age 17

Wallingford, MA

Paid Entry to 2015 BEF Jr Nationals


14 & Under Division

1st Place

Lukas Fracasso-Verner, age 13

Wallingford, MA

Trophy, Scholarship Award, Paid Entry to 2015 BEF Jr Nationals

2nd Place

Michelle Jiang, age 14

Harvard, MA


3rd Place

Brandon Coley, age 14

East Windsor, CT

Trophy, Paid Entry to 2015 BEF Jr Nationals

4th Place

Tiana Jiang, age 10

Harvard, MA


5th Place

Jack Passamano, age 11

Middleton , CT

Paid Entry to 2015 BEF Jr Nationals

6th Place

Lonnie Lee, age 11

Wallingford, CT

Paid Entry to 2015 BEF Jr Nationals


For more information on sponsoring, hosting, or participating in a Junior State Championship, visit or call (303) 926-1039. Complete list of nationwide junior events listed here:

Team Europe still on track but first players have dropped out

Team EUROPE is still in a nice shape at the WPA World 9-Ball Championships for Under 19’s, Under 17’s and Girls which is currently held in Shanghai, China.
In the girls division, Kristina Tkach (RUS) and Marharyta Fefilava (BKR) were able to win their matches on the loser’s side. Tkach ousted Rachel Lang (USA) 7:1 and then had a thriller coming up against Xiong Shi Yan (CHN). Tkach took an early 3:1 lead but Xiong was able to pull back two racks from her to tie the match at 3:3. Tkach took a timeout and got some momentum from it. She took another two rack lead to turn the scoreboard to 5:3 in her favor. But China’s Xiong turned out to be a real tough fighter. She struck back and managed to tie the match at 6:6. Being on the hill, both players knew it was a do or die from now on. Xiong handled the pressure better and won the heartbreaker with 7:6, eliminating Kristina Tkach from the event. Marharyta Fefilava had to deal with Kayla Roloson (CAN). The first part of the match went definitely into Fefilava’s account. 3:0 was the intermediate result. Suddenly, Roloson started to fight back and the match heated up. It came again to a hill hill situation where Roloson missed the 6-ball and left the table with 4 balls remaining to Fefilava. The young girl from Belarus used that chance and took the victory with 7:6. The next match was the final destination for Fefilava. She had to face Jiang Teng (CHN) who ousted Fefilava with 7:5. The two remaining European girls, defending Champion Nataliya Seroshtan (RUS) and Kamila Khodjaeva (BEL), are still straight on track. Seroshtan won 7:2 over Wang Wan-Ling (TPE) while Khodjaeva handed a 7:0 doughnut to Yang Ji Young (KOR).
Sanjin Pehlivanovic (BIH) caused another upset in the Under 17’s division. He played Yip King Ning Leo (HKG) and furiously took a 5:1 lead. But then it seemed as if Pehlivanovic ran out of gas. He lost rack after rack and finally, Yip was able to win the loser’s round mastic with 7:6 and terminate the event for the young Bosnian. Cyriel Ledoux (NED) won 7:5 over Lo Ho Sum (HKG). The same result was good for Daniel Maciol (POL) who won over Alexander Tapiquen (VEN) 7:5 as well. Maxim Dudanets (RUS) joined his two teammates with a clear 7:4 victory over Zhang Gan Ting (CHN). These three players will play the quarterfinals tomorrow.
In the Under 19’s division, Patryk Statkiewicz (POL) and Raphael Wahl (GER) were already on the loser’s side while Joshua Filler (GER) and Pijus Labutis (LIT) are on the winner’s side. Statkiewicz defeated Jerry Quintero (VEN) 9:6 while Wahl ousted Devin Poteet (USA) 9:4. Then, Statkiewicz saw Xing Xiao Wei (CHN) as his opponent. The Polish played another match filled with ups and downs but remained victorious in the end with 9:6. Wahl came up with the next heartbreaker of the day. His match with Kim Su Ung (KOR) turned out to be a thriller which went over the full distance. At 8:8, Wahl kept his nerves together and won the match by a hair’s breadth with 9:8. Joshua Filler met Long Zehuang (CHN) who made his way in the tournament through the qualification rounds. The Chinese took an unexpected quick 5:1 lead over Filler. But the multiple European Youth Champion suddenly seemed to remember that he is in the event for a reason. He found his rhythm and won the match 9:6. Labutis played with Hsu Jui An (TPE). He dominated throughout the whole match and despite the fact that he also committed several unnecessary mistakes, Labutis won the encounter with 9:4.
If Statkiewicz and Wahl will win their next matches tomorrow, they will be in the quarterfinals as well as seven of their teammates.